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Sports presenter Clare Balding fears she will be judged on her appearance as she “glams up” to host a new Saturday night BBC1 show.

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Balding, who won praise for the way she covered the Olympics and Paralympics, is set to present prime-time entertainment show Britain’s Brightest.

The 41-year-old told the Radio Times: “I’m putting myself into a different genre - I’m therefore saying to the public, ‘Can you accept me in a completely different format?’ and that is risky.

“And obviously because it’s Saturday night, I’ve got to glam up a bit. You know, there will be a few people who go, ‘Oh, I don’t like what she’s wearing’.”

Balding was interviewed while filming the series, wearing six-inch heels.

“I’m not running in them, am I? Mainly, I’m just walking three steps and stopping,” she said.

When the interviewer said they look a “dominatrix”, she responded: “Dominatrix! Don’t you dare write that!”

Balding will also be hosting Good Morning Sunday on Radio 2, replacing Aled Jones on the weekly faith programme.

Asked whether she had a faith, she said it was “not significant” adding: “I’m very interested in other people’s faith and I think that’s what matters.”

Balding said that her new “national treasure” label would not last, and she added: “I think ‘ambitious’ is one of those adjectives used for women in a derogatory way - and, yet, I think ambition is crucial in life - you have to know what you might be capable of and push yourself slightly beyond it.”

She told the magazine: “You come across words all the time that are everyday sexism. I was described as competently bossy and bossily competent by a male journalist and I thought, ‘Gosh, bossy is never used of a man....A man would be called assertive or confident or quick or bright .... five years ago that would have really upset me - now I just think, ‘Hmm - probably his failing, not mine. Move on’.”

Asked whether she would ever consider hosting a chat show, Balding, whose civil partner is Radio 4 newsreader Alice Arnold, said: “I don’t know whether a chat show isn’t pushing it too far.”

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